Column: How a ‘ghost town’ became Pomona’s Arts Colony

A panel last weekend at the School of Arts and Enterprise in downtown Pomona for the Arts Colony’s 25th anniversary was a chance for participants to tell stories about the last quarter century, but also about the pre-Arts Colony days, when downtown was a kind of no-man’s-land. I share some of those stories, with some follow-up questions, in Friday’s column. Above from left, Joshua Swodeck, Ed Tessier, Bill Moore, Phil Graffham, Marci Swett, Rebecca Hamm, Chris Toovey and Joy McAlister.

 

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Mural at Mosaic Apartments, Pomona

I’ve admired the tile mural at Pomona’s Mosaic Apartments (1680 S. Garey Ave.) while eating next door at DeAnda Taqueria. It’s a panoramic aerial view, complete with birds, and includes the fairgrounds, the Fox Theater and more. The mural is so long it’s impossible to capture in one photo. So here are three views, shot one night after dinner, and a rather dim view of the pleasant exterior of the three-story complex, which has 46 units classified as affordable.

Update: Cultural Arts Commissioner Joshua Swodeck reports: “Such a great mural. Designed by local artist¬†Jason LaMotte¬†and the mosaic production work was led by Alba Cisneros. It’s a beautiful public mural in District 3 right on Garey Avenue put up in 2017.” I didn’t know who had produced the mural, so I’m pleased to be able to give credit.

Swodeck also provides the handy guide to the scene, below. I’ll have to open this blog post on my phone at the mural some time and follow along.

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Remembering the space race

These display cases at the Pomona Public Library are devoted to the Moon missions via magazines, toys, comic books, games and more from the era, courtesy of collector John Atwater. It’s a fun reminder, or history lesson, of the excitement of the space race. Click on the photo for a larger view. For an even larger view, visit the library!

I took this photo a few weeks ago and am belatedly sharing it in honor of the July 20, 1969, moon landing.

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Column: For some, Aranda’s hometown shows are a pilgrimage

“American Idol” runner-up Alejandro Aranda ended his modest national tour of a half-dozen small venues with shows Wednesday and Thursday at the Glass House in his native Pomona. I was there for Wednesday’s concert and collected show tidbits and anecdotes from concertgoers, some of whom came a loooong way to see him. The result is Friday’s column.

Stats corner: Of my Top 5 most-read columns online in 2019, four are about Aranda. No. 4 is about Golden Spur in Glendora.

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Column: It was ‘Idol’ finalist, crew, Ben Harper and one columnist

Prior to Alejandro Aranda’s Pomona activities, he stopped in Claremont at the Folk Music Center. And (intoning gravely) I was there. This fly on the wall saw the “American Idol” finalist reunite with store owner/musician Ben Harper, tour the store, talk and jam, with the store staff and the TV crew the only witnesses. Get the inside scoop in Sunday’s column. And yes, I know I’ve written three straight columns on Aranda. Don’t worry, Sunday will be something different. After that I’m on vacation so you’ll get a break from both of us.

 

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Column: Triumphant homecoming for Pomona’s ‘Idol’ finalist

I was there Tuesday for Alejandro Aranda’s return to Pomona for his “American Idol” “hometown visit,” which comes with being in the Top 3. And so were thousands of others. “Idol” had said to expect 8,000 to 10,000 and that seemed possible based on what I saw. That segment will air during Sunday’s finale.

It was a fun day, culminating in a free concert. It was also a stressful day for yours truly, as when the concert was over, at 7:30, I had until 8:30 to finish my column, partly written earlier in the day but with lots to add and adjust. I made it. Read about the day in my Wednesday column. And look for a sequel on Friday, as I had an inside view of Aranda’s low-key visit to Claremont earlier Tuesday.

Above, Aranda tunes his guitar while speaking from the stage in front of the Fox.

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